The Canada Council awarded three of their most prestigious music related prizes yesterday, each with a cash award of between $7,500 and $50,000.
The Walter Carsen Prize for Excellence in the Performing Arts ($50,000)
One of the Canada Council’s biggest awards, The Walter Carsen Prize for Excellence in the Performing Arts has been awarded to Vancouver-based composer Rodney Sharman.
The award recognizes the artistic excellence and career achievement by artists working in music, theatre or dance and cycles every four years between dance, theatre, dance and music. Up until now, the music category has been dominated by Ontario artists: R. Murray Schafer (2005), Robert Aitken (2009), and the Gryphon Trio (2013).
Sharman marks the first time a BC-based musician has won the coveted award.
“I feel honoured,” said Sharman in a press release statement. “I am also pleased to be able to devote time to writing pieces I have been thinking about for years. I am touched, too, in that my first dance collaboration with James Kudelka, Thrust, is dedicated to Walter Carsen in celebration of his 2000 Ramon John Hnatyshyn award for volunteerism in the performing arts.”
The Virginia Parker Prize ($25,000)
The Virginia Parker Prize has been awarded to cellist Vanessa Hunt Russell.
The prize is unique in that it recognizes musicians under the age of 32, who demonstrate outstanding talent, musicianship and artistic excellence, and who make a valuable contribution to creative life in Canada and internationally.
Hailing from Montreal, Russell has been making waves in Switzerland playing as a soloist and chamber musician and studying for her masters at the Zürcher Hochschule der Künste.
The Jules Léger Prize for New Chamber Music ($7,500)
The Jules Léger Prize for New Chamber Music has been awarded to Montreal’s Gabriel Dharmoo for his work Wanmansho (2015).
In our review of Wanmansho at its Toronto premiere in 2015, we called it, “too inventive not to like.”
The piece features baritone Vincent Ranallo and ECM+ ensemble and is crafted around Dharmoo’s unique compositional language which unites sung theatre with contemporary music.
“I feel thankful and happy, especially because Wanmansho is quite representative of my recent musical and artistic ideas pertaining to imaginary folklore, extended-voice techniques and musical dramaturgy,” Dharmoo said.
The award, which comes with a $7,500 cash prize and recognizes excellence in innovative chamber music composition.
Congrats to all of these inspiring artists!